There is a lot of apprehension among some denture wearers when it comes to hospital stays. For some, the idea of having to remove their dentures in front of people can range from slightly embarrassing to emotionally traumatizing. When you receive your dentures, you’re typically given basic instructions on how to properly care for and maintain your dentures but no one really tells you about how dentures will impact your life. Many don’t even realize what being a denture might entail until they are faced with certain situations, like hospital stays. You should never put off necessary medical procedures out of fear of having to remove your dentures. Prepare yourself by knowing what to expect, beforehand.
Do you have to remove your dentures for hospital stays?
Yes, no, and maybe. When it comes to routine medical check-ups, you almost never have to remove your dentures. The main time you would need to remove your dentures would be when you are under general anesthesia. Removable dentures can pose safety concerns when the patient is asleep. The risk of the dentures becoming loose and lodging themselves into the airways is a real concern. The anesthesiologist must secure the airway and the dentures could get in the way or even become damaged as the breathing tube or mask are being placed.
So long as the patient is awake and alert, dentures rarely have to be removed. But even if you don’t anticipate needing to be put under general anesthesia, there is always the chance of needing emergency surgery or other life-saving procedures, so some hospitals will still ask you to remove your dentures. For this reason, it’s always best to discuss this with your physician prior to your hospital stay.
When I had my youngest daughter in 2012, I had fully removable dentures. Before the anesthesiologist came to give me the epidural, a couple of nurses came in to discuss my medical history. When asked if I had ever undergone any surgeries, I informed them that, while I had never been under general anesthesia, I did have my teeth removed in 2010. They had no idea I was a denture wearer. If I did not volunteer this information, they never would have known. I did not have to take my teeth out but if something were to happen and I needed to be put under, the risk of choking on my dentures (mainly the lower denture, which is much smaller than the upper denture) would have been present. I would rather the staff know that I wore dentures than to risk something happening.
Medical professionals have seen it all.
I am no different than most when it comes to the idea of being seen with no teeth. My dentist and his assistant sees me with no teeth every time I go for a checkup but it’s still not something I’ve gotten used to so I’ll wear a surgical mask if I have to be without my teeth for an extended period of time, such as when they are in the sonic cleaner. Even still, medical professionals are very much used to seeing people without teeth. They are not going to think any differently about you as their main concern is your health and safety.
It’s understandable if you are not ready for friends and family to see you without teeth. Discuss your concerns with the medical staff prior to any extended hospital stays. It is entirely possible to hold off on removing your dentures until your friends and family have left your room. You can also request that no visitors be allowed to enter your room after your procedure until you have put your dentures back in. This is why It’s important to be completely open and honest with staff about your dentures. You’ll be clear on what is and isn’t allowed and they will be able to work with you and your personal requests.